Biocultural heritage-based products, including regional specialty foods, are increasingly part of sustainable rural development strategies. While export-oriented biocultural products are often the most visible, we examine the role of campesino gastronomic heritage in the Central Valley of Tarija, Bolivia, as a case study of a local market-centered biocultural resource-based development strategy reflected in an alternative agri-food network. We develop a biocultural sustainability framework to examine this network from ecological, economic and sociocultural perspectives. Data are drawn from interviews (n
= 77), surveys (n
= 89) and participant observation, with primary and secondary producers of traditional and new products, as well as restaurant owners, market vendors and local consumers. We find that campesino biocultural heritage and the alternative agri-food network surrounding it represent an influential territorial project that underpins many household economies, particularly for women. We conclude that the relatively small investments by local governments to promote campesino gastronomic heritage are having positive ripple effects on small-scale producer livelihoods and on biocultural sustainability. We suggest that further support to increase market access and reduce other barriers to participation in alternative food networks will likely increase the options and benefits available to small-scale producers mobilising campesino gastronomic heritage within the local economy.
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